The Light of Rossland’s Flame

By Contributor
April 18th, 2011

Community Building is process that requires developing authentic relationships between people in a community. The word ‘authentic’ is extremely important because people rarely communicate authentically. Rossland’s The Flame was implemented for exactly that reason: it was an event designated to increase community involvement through storytelling.  Through sharing stories from their lives, audience members and participants “directly experience the power of narrative, creating meaningful connections with members of the community—those who are close to them as well as those who represent different cultures and generations” according to the event’s founders. Just like Vancouver’s The Flame, Rossland’s The Flame used a collective process that helped to enhance involvement and development within the community and the members that make up that community. The outcome of both Flame events is the same: formation of an emotionally-relating group of people.  Although there were only two events held over two months, the turn out got better by the second event and the voice and light of The Flame seemed to spread throughout the community streets.  Chelsea Peterson, a co-student in coordinating this event, states that The Flame “was a wonderful event, having some people from the Rossland community share a piece of their lives with others via story seemed to light up a spark of goodness, and I hope that someone or some people from the community keep it going and keep it growing”.  Sean Cook, co-host and co-producer of “Telling Tales” at the New Bohemian restaurant for Vancouver’s The Flame states that such storytelling is “the kind of safe footing [that is] now local, real stories about real people that can really generate that sense of connectedness and warmth that seems to be missing from folks who are just sitting at home watching pixels change colour.”  Rossland’s The Flame carried specific objectives for their audience, participants, and community through storytelling. As stated by Dr. Andre Heuer, a storyteller himself studying community and storytelling, the telling of stories helps us: 

  • Come to the heart of our experience as individuals and as a community
  • Discover our deeper connections within our community
  • Illuminate the important issues in our lives and the life of our community

Participants of the event also gain opportunities to: 

  • grow as individuals within community
  • discover the meaningful stories of your community
  • build community

This event was and is a temporary Selkirk College Practice Placement for Nursing Students, and sadly with the school year coming to an end so the event itself. We have seen and received much feedback from participants and audience members after these events, and a common theme seems to be agreed upon: “Rossland’s The Flame event seems to an event that could definitely take root in this small community of Rossland, and bring people and their life experiences and stories much closer together” and “With so many different stories and life tales, it really opens your mind to new and different experiences from the eyes of many individuals”.  These being some of the general comments within the time frame of the hosted storytelling event, the spark for community understanding and involvement seemed to start lighting the larger flame for community building and development. Jessica Drake

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